South African company Dig Oil claims $ 619 million from the DRC

The company thus drags the country before a court of justice in the United States. Explanations.

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Dig Oil, it was this company formerly called Divine Inspiration which had obtained in 2007 and in 2008 exploration permits for several blocks, some of which encroach on the Salonga National Park, listed as World Heritage by Unesco. Just before leaving office, President Kabila had confirmed one of the production sharing agreements with this company, to the chagrin of environmental organizations. This time, the conflict is transferred to the United States, but the DRC of Félix Tshisekedi intends to react.

The Deputy Prime Minister in charge of justice said he was seized of the file and had even already identified the lawyers who will be mandated by the state to defend the interests of the DRC. On May 1, a District of Columbia court gave the DRC 60 days to respond to Dig Oil’s complaint.

NGOs mobilize

According to documents consulted by RFI, the South African company is asking this American federal court to force the DRC to apply the decision of the International Court of Arbitration which had already ruled in its favor. On November 7, 2018, this Paris-based court found that the DRC had violated the production agreement that linked it to Dig Oil and for two reasons.

First, for failing to issue the presidential order on time confirming a first production sharing agreement signed in 2007; secondly, for having reassigned the oil blocks covered by the 2008 agreement to other companies.

The International Court of Arbitration awarded nearly 620 million euros in damages to the South African company. After this decision and despite the conviction, on December 13, 2018, former President Joseph Kabila, had finally signed the requested presidential order. Since then, organizations like Greenpeace have asked his successor Félix Tshisekedi to cancel him.

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